- New DSL Areas Open Now
- Worst Viruses The World Has Ever Seen
- New Mail Server Upgrades
- Red Shift 15th Year Anniversary
1. New DSL Areas Open Now
Been waiting for DSL in your area? Perhaps your patience can now be rewarded.
Red Shift is now offering DSL in the following cities and areas: Aromas, Greenfield, Prunedale and a large section of the CreekBridge development in Salinas.
Some other cities where we began offering DSL recently are: Castroville, Carmel Valley, Gonzales and King City.
We are currently offering a special setup of only $49 (includes equipment) and monthly price starting at $35.95 on DSL. Please contact us for more details at one of the following:
Phone 831-755-7700 (Salinas, Gonzales, Prunedale)
Or 831-655-8710 (Carmel Valley)
Or 831-423-0198 (Aromas, but may or may not be a local call, check
with local phone provider)
2. Worst Viruses The World Has Ever Seen
2004 is heralding in a computer age of great infamy and we’re only in February.
If you use E-mail, and who doesn’t, you probably have experienced some problems getting your mail in the recent past. You’re likely wondering what caused this and whether your mail delivery can be trusted.
So, what is causing these problems? The catalyst is several new strains of viruses and worms that have been released with the intent to attack certain websites (such as Microsoft and SCO). They have caught pretty much everyone off guard. The Bagle, MyDoom viruses and worms; and their variants are the two most recent to cause havoc. Both have created increases in E-mail of up to five times normal traffic levels (and spikes even higher than that). Mail servers are not generally prepared to handle such sudden and dramatic increases all at once. This causes delays, interruptions and even lost mail.
E-mail borne viruses and worms cause such severe problems because they infect computers and steal address books and then mail themselves to the recipients. As they spread they multiply exponentially. For example, mail servers that can handle ten thousand E-mails per hour may suddenly start seeing fifty thousand per hour. A five times jump in traffic like that is beyond the normal operating parameters of most mail servers. What happens when these parameters are exceeded is the E-mail starts backing up in queues. Queues that grow too large will prevent legitimate E-mail from getting through in a timely fashion.
During particularly heavy virus or worm induced attacks, mail servers might actually fill up with E-mail and very serious problems occur as a result. This causes some mail to go undelivered. Even if a mail server is scanning for viruses and worms in the E-mail it would quickly become inundated trying to ferret out the astronomical number of illegitimate E-mails caused by these culprits. The servers then get further and further behind and cannot keep up with demand.
It is estimated by watchdog groups that these new viruses and worms we are seeing this month and last will eventually cause losses in the billions of dollars worldwide. This is the most serious day to day problem that Internet providers face right now. E-mail services are so critical to our lives and so vulnerable to attack that they are one of the favorite targets of hackers and spammers. To survive as a reliable delivery method, E-mail servers and the software they run needs to get far more intelligent, robust and bulletproof . fast! We are challenging developers who provide equipment, software and rules for E-mail delivery systems to work on this problem with great haste.
The best way for everyone to help combat this problem is to use anti-virus software regularly; and keep it updated daily (most programs have a “live update” feature which updates software automatically). People should make sure the antivirus software runs at boot up also. Even if you don’t open E-mail attachments, run the software in memory so that it is always protecting your computer. This will protect you and help out the rest of the world as well. We’ve seen viruses and worms show up on computers where E-mail attachments were never opened, so don’t trust your computer to be safe because you don’t believe you’re doing anything that makes you vulnerable; always run virus checkers.
If you do not have virus detection software running, please visit one of these two sites (or any mainstream antivirus software distributor) as soon as possible:
3. New Mail Server Upgrades
Internet E-mail has become as important as regular postal mail. To many people it is even more important for everyday communications. The volume of E-mail that Internet providers must handle is increasing at a very fast rate. SPAM and viruses are x-factors that sometimes cause substantial increases all at once: E-mail floods. All of this E-mail must be processed within seconds of being received, somehow. We at Red Shift understand the critically important nature of E-mail.
Problems can and do occur though. The Bagle virus disrupted mail at Red Shift for 72 hours, causing serious slowdowns in delivery and some undelivered mail as well. Within the last 7 days the Mydoom A & B worms caused slowdowns in mail delivery too, however all mail was eventually delivered due to new safeguards we put into place. These kinds of viruses are likely to become more frequent rather than less so.
Being faced with continued onslaughts from these threats to our E-mail delivery systems, we have determined that our current mail structure must improve not just in an incremental fashion, but by a quantum leap. What was powerful enough and smart enough a year ago is no longer adequate.
We will are currently switching to completely new sets of software programs to handle the bulk of our E-mail delivery services. We’ve also come up with new ways of using the software to more intelligently handle E-mail delivery. We are replacing all current servers with far more powerful processors with far more memory, as well as adding additional servers to increase the size of our server farms. We expect all upgrades to be completed within 4 weeks. We’ve already replaced one system as of the writing of this newsletter, and the next set of servers is almost ready to go. These are serious and exceptionally robust upgrades which will allow Red Shift to handle very large increases in E-mail.
4. Red Shift 15th Year Anniversary
From very humble beginnings Red Shift has grown and accomplished a lot in its life of 15 years. Red Shift will turn 15 on February 26, 2004.
The company started out as a Bulletin Board and grew into a regional ISP with a myriad of services. Our very first dialup connections were at 2400bps (2.4k). That is 23 times slower than a 56k modem. Now we are offering connections in the megabit range, such as SDSL lines that can get up to 4,000k.
The company has changed a great deal over time but the passion for what we do has not diminished. We want to thank our current and past customers. We also thank our current and past staff members. We couldn’t have done it without you. We cannot wait to see what the future might bring.
Karl Van Lear